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Tales From the History of Bally Williams With Pinball Designer Brian Eddy; Fascinating Prototype Mechs That Never Made Iconic Games; Stern Pinball Beetlejuice?

One of my favorite aspects of Pinball Shows is the seminars. Whenever I miss a big show, I always say to myself “Oh man, I’m gonna miss out on so much good information.” I LOVE it when the shows stream or share replays of these presentations. So a big thanks to Chase Nunes who shared all of the presentations from the recent Northwest Pinball and Arcade show on his great Geek Gamer TV Twitch channel this weekend.


I’m sitting here this morning checking them all out and I came across an amazing seminar from current Stern Pinball designer Brian Eddy who gave a talk about his history designing and programming games at Bally Williams in the 1990s.


The focus of this particular article is all of the super interesting prototype mechs that almost made it into iconic Bally Williams games from that era but were cut for one reason or another. I find this sort of stuff absolutely fascinating. Below are my notes on some of the mechs that never made it and actual pictures of the prototypes that Brian kept.


  • The Indiana Jones drop target in front of captive ball was originally a 3-Stage drop target that dropped a little on every hit. It would have been the only one that was ever made. In the end they took it out of the game due to cost.


  • The Shadow’s original design had giant flippers that were an inch bigger than regular ones but everyone told him that you can’t change the flipper size in a game.


  • The Mongol figures in The Shadow were supposed to pop out for players to hit them, but cost and time restraints led to that being pulled.


  • In the movie The Shadow pneumatic tubes were featured so originally in the game all of the wireform ramps were tubes instead.  They paid $20,000 which was a lot of money then to get prototype tubes made but it took too long to get them good enough to put in the game.


  • The Martians in Attack From Mars originally started out as those string toys where the Martians would collapse when hit but they broke way too often. They were replaced with the rubbery shaking Martians that are in the game today.


  • Attack From Mars has such a big open middle of its playfield because in the game’s original design the saucer was supposed to telescope out and rotate all around the playfield with a hanging target that the players had to hit. The prototype for it did kind of work but cost and time led to it being cut.


Below are all of the pictures of the actual prototype mechs and slides from the presentation. This article really doesn’t do the Brian Eddy’s amazing presentation justice. If you’re into pinball history, I highly encourage you to check the whole thing out on the Geek Gamer TV channel via the link below.


Thanks for reading everyone. Remember, if you haven’t signed up already, you can input your e-mail address at the bottom of the first page on the Knapp Arcade site to receive free instant alerts whenever a new article goes up here.


P.S. Check out the last picture below for what I assume is a joke by Brian about the next game that he’s working on based on the recent controversy. If it’s somehow real then Brian Eddy and Dwight Sullivan are working on Beetlejuice for Stern. Everything I’ve heard lately is that Spooky Pinball has the Beetlejuice license so I think that this is a joke but thought that I’d mention it just in case :)



Prototype three stage drop target from Indiana Jones

Prototype pneumatic tubes from The Shadow:

Giant flipper prototype from The Shadow:

Prototype telescoping saucer from Attack From Mars:


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3 Comments


I heard about those features in IJPA and AFM, but hadn't heard about the giant flippers on Shadow. Congrats to whomever talked him out of that idea.

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and Steve Ritchie sorta tried to do the AFM idea later on Stern Star Trek, but it got cut due to cost/reliability. The ship was supposed to swoop around the playfield. Steve compared it to the cameras in football games.

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KING HENRY
KING HENRY
7 days ago

I watched the rerun of Saturday's Brian Eddy's deal there..it was actually VERY COOL..Surprising there wasn't more folks in the audience (but I admit, I'd be playing pinball as well)..but seriously, I would have really been honored to watch that, meet the maker, and connect the dots..he's a funny guy; i'd love to meet him in person (and the others). Cheers to all that went to the show..perhaps another time.

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